Samy Vellu must satisfy not just the Prime
Minister or Cabinet but 25 million Malaysians and he should make public his
full report on the six ill-starred government projects to zero in on all
the parties who must bear responsibility at every stage if the Works
Ministry is completely blameless
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Wednesday): New Straits Times front-paged the headline “A beaming Samy Vellu goes into fighting mode” while Utusan Malaysia carried the headline “PM puas hati laporan projek – Samy Vellu” and Berita Harian “PM puas hati penjelasan saya: Samy Vellu” on the account of the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu of his 35-minute briefing with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday on six ill-starred government projects.
Samy Vellu said he had cleared the air on allegations of wrongdoing by his Ministry and that Abdullah was satisfied with his explanation and asked him to make a similar presentation to the Cabinet today.
It would appear that all the hullabaloo in the past week, even involving some Barisan Nasional MPs and the mainstream media crying for Samy Vellu’s scalp, demanding a new culture of greater government accountability and greater Ministerial responsibility, has fizzled out like a damp squib – all sound and fury, signifying nothing!
Samy Vellu said Abdullah has directed that action be taken against the contractors of the ill-starred projects, including legal action against the original contractor for the RM300 million MATRADE Building scandal and requiring the RM238 million Middle Ring Road Two (MRR2) contractor to repair the Kepong flyover cracks.
Malaysians must feel a terrible letdown at the latest turn of events for two reasons:
Malaysians cannot believe that only the contractors, and no other parties, are at fault for the six ill-stared government projects, which have caused enormous inconveniences, hardships and even sufferings to hundreds of thousands of people, whether as a result of the nightmarish traffic gridlocks caused by the closure of the MRR2 Kepong flyover and the mudslide on North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung, the 150 accidents caused by the crash-prone East Coast Highway since its opening two months ago, as well as the other projects, like the closure of the new Hospital Sultan Ismail in Johor, the delayed MATRADE building and the landslide-prone stretch of the second East-West Highway.
Up to now, the Malaysian public are none the wiser as to the reasons, and the parties responsible, for the six ill-stared government projects, as it is just not good enough to put the whole blame on the contractors as if the various Ministries and government departments involved in the various stages of the projects are not culpable.
Samy Vellu must satisfy not just the Prime Minister or Cabinet but 25 million Malaysians and he should make public his full report on the six ill-starred government projects to zero in on all the parties who must bear responsibility at every stage if the Works Ministry is completely blameless.
Samy Vellu must also satisfy Parliament that he need not bear any personal Ministerial responsibility for the six ill-starred government projects. When Parliament reconvenes for the resumed budget meeting on November 22, the first item of parliamentary business should be a full parliamentary debate and vote as to whether Samy Vellu should bear personal Ministerial responsibility for the six ill-starred government projects.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman